Friday, 11 April 2014

Words fail me - almost

Its impossible to tell you how stressful putting our house on the market has been, or how expensive, and we aren't there yet.
Firstly in Scotland we are required by law to have a home report prepared before we can offer the house for sale, this gives a condition report, an energy report and a valuation.  None of this is worth the paper it is written on, full of get out clauses and based on a walk round the property without proper investigation, the energy performance section is supported by companies who want to sell you condensing boilers, solar panels etc, which are recommended to improve the rating.    
We arranged for an appropriate surveyor to come round to do this and will eventually fork out £840 for the pleasure.  Mr FF had ready the house plans, specification, even delivery notes for materials to explain how things worked and how well insulated the property is.  Bad start, the surveyor, lets call him Mr Clipboard, wasn't interested, said he'd prefer to wander round on his own and that he could only rate the house according to the building standards at the time it was built, pretty low.  We greatly exceeded these standards when we built, but apart from shoving Mr Clipboard's head into the loft or down a hatch to inspect the underfloor there was nothing we could do to get him to believe us.  We felt that was unfair, he said he was only the messenger and I suggested he take a message back that the system is rubbish.  Anyway to cut things short, he produced a survey that contained 19 errors, making various assumptions, though we were available to ask, like that we might not have planning permission for the 'alterations' to glaze the roof of our hallway.  We obtained planning permission for this when we built the house, it was never an alteration. He asked if our heating was zoned, ie could parts be turned off, and Mr FF showed him the switch in the hall that turns off the heating to the bedrooms during the day so that only the living areas are heated.  Because it was a manual switch, like turning on and off a light, Mr Clipboard wasn't able to accept it, he said it had to be automatic.  I thought Mr FF might launch into his regular rant about the chair being the killer and that people should get off their bottoms more often, perhaps he was stunned by the stupidity of it all.   
The energy report was dire, we know our house has a low carbon footprint and is cosy and warm at little expense, but Mr Clipboard had no box to enter information on our link up stove and oil boiler system, computer says no.   However, he hadn't anticipated our Yorkshire determination, Mr FF spoke to various bodies including the software manufacturers and after 3 weeks we eventually got a decent (average) rating.    However Mr Clipboard had the last laugh because once we said the report was OK he took himself off for 2 weeks holiday, we have no idea if he has issued details to the estate agents, we hardly care.
Then we had the photographer and the man who comes to draw up the plan, again the latter was not interested in the fact we already had plans, we appreciated he needed to check dimensions but he could have saved himself some time and possible got the room names right.  The photographer was pleasant and easy to have around, but again we didn't receive the photographs for several days, by which time they had been inserted into a draft brochure.  I had walked round with the photographer, pointing things out but felt that he knew what he was doing and left him to get on, wrong. Dreadful pictures, completely distorted by fancy lenses, presumably to make the rooms look more spacious.  Who needs to see that there is a bed in the spare room and a window, no indication of fitted wardrobes or garden views. Our lovely morning room that looks onto the balcony, across the garden and to the hills, shows a red sofa and a bookcase, no outlook or double patio doors in sight.
We were so disappointed, again we have forked out over £900 for the marketing, this morning I went out and took our own photographs for the brochure, we re-wrote the blurb that describes our small village, no shops or services, as a town and dare I mention the 2 W.C.'s - I would happily go round and give them a lesson on use of the apostrophe, I'd do it for free.  The sales negotiator was pressing us to approve the brochure, she sent it through at 4.00 pm yesterday and was on the phone at 9 am to ask if it was OK, no pressure there then.
I honestly feel that we have barely been consulted in this process, we have spent almost £1,800 and ended up doing most of the work ourselves. The arrogance of people who are selling their services is outrageous, I am sure we are already marked down as the clients from hell, so be it at least we might eventually get something like what we are paying for.


  1. How frustrating for you. If you are having to fork out that much money, you expect to have a quality service. Hopefully your sale will go through smoothly. In the meantime, I think you need some nice yarn as an indulgent treat!

  2. How very irritating. I agree, you definitely need some yarn goodness to help relieve the stress! :-)

  3. Definitely a rant-worthy situation. It seems the quality of so many things is declining.

    I do appreciate your system of reading through your books while cleaning the shelves. Quite inventive!


  4. You need to invite Mr Clipboard and co round for cocktails!

  5. I have in the past twice sacked estate agents for their sheer incompetence - the first one didn't think it was a problem describing our semi-detached cottage as terraced! It would take too long to describe the second lot's failings - including expecting me to check the spelling, as the typist didn't have a spellchecker on her computer!?
    I hope you get past these difficulties and get your house sold soon - the market does seem to be picking up.